Thursday, November 3, 2005

Google Print Raises Curtain on 10,000 Non-Copyrighted Texts

The Google Print project has started to roll out more non-copyrighted texts from its library scanning efforts, now bringing to light little chestnuts such as ""The Seventh Regiment Rhode Island Volunteers in the Civil War" and other public-domain works. This wave of texts is fairly large - 10,000 volumes in all, according to the New York Times - and includes the full text of these works available for searching and reading online. In place of the "Copyrighted Material" label on the edge of each displayed is the phrase "Google Print" - not indicating ownership but clearly branding the content in the Google mould. Though the Times piece claims that one can cut and paste content from a page and print individual pages the "how" of this is not evident: "right-click" mouse functions are disabled on Google Print pages in both Internet Explorer and Firefox and one cannot select the text image on the page for copying. Using the "Control-P" key sequence to print the Web page for a displayed book page prints out everything BUT the page of text. Dear NY Times, please verify these functions before trusting the PR guys at Google. The bottom line of all this is that Google has succeeded in creating searchable online books in the public domain that provide a valuable research source for those who would have otherwise been challenged to find these works in other venues. The limited display capabilities of Google Print appear to protect booksellers nicely and even lends them a hand with links to the online sellers. And for this we should be afraid because...?
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